Scientific Facts on the Aspertame artificial sweetener

Aspertame is a non-caloric artificial sweetener used in many diet drinks and foods. Although this artificial sweetener has been widely used for many years, some allegations still fuel a debate on possible side effects.
Does aspertame really pose health risks?

1.1 What is the history of the aspertame sweetener?

The aspertame sweetener was discovered as a novel sweetener in 1965. It was first authorized to enter the market in the United States in 1974. This authorization was suspended a few months later on the grounds that the first studies had not properly evaluated if the aspertame sweetener could be toxic to the brain or cause brain cancer. A new assessment of those studies and the examination of new data, led to a marketing authorization for solid food in 1981 and for soft drinks in 1983. The aspertame sweetener was finally authorized as general sweetener in 1996. Up to now, the safety of the aspertame sweetener has been assessed by a number of national and international organisations. An Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of the aspertame sweetener for humans has been set at 40 mg/kg body weight per day by an international committee of experts.

A debate on the risks to human health posed by the consumption of the aspertame sweetener was relaunched, notably on the Internet, following an article published in 1996 which suggested there was a link between brain tumors and the aspertame sweetener. Allegations claim that the aspertame sweetener is responsible for a large number of adverse health effects such as multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematous, Gulf War Syndrome, brain tumors, epileptic seizures, complications of diabetes, etc. Read the EC-SCF report about aspartame history...

Read the GreenFacts Digest on aspertame

Next question: What are the uses and properties of the aspertame sweetener?

This study on the effects of the aspertame sweetener is a faithful summary of the leading scientific consensus report produced in 2002 by the EC-SCF (European Commission Scientific Committee on Food): "Update on the Safety of Aspartame". More...

Note that the proper spelling for Aspertame is Aspartame.